(Boston, Mass.) While the top two spots of the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) standings solidly rest in the hands of the Dallas Rattlers (8-2) and Chesapeake Bayhawks (7-2) as Independence Day approaches, it seems likely five other teams will be engaged in a furious battle to free themselves from the other contenders for the final two playoff spots.
The Rattlers have won their last five games and Bayhawks are currently riding a six-game winning streak. Dallas and Chesapeake met in the season opener in Annapolis with the Rattlers winning 15-9, compliments of Jordan Wolf's four goals. Both teams have a two-loss cushion on the third-place Denver Outlaws (6-4) and both are three losses up on the Charlotte Hounds (6-5) and New York Lizards (5-5).
In addition to Charlotte, two other Southeast squads, the Atlanta Blaze (4-6) and Florida Launch (4-6) maintain viable chances as both sit just two games behind the Outlaws. Atlanta hosts Denver in the teams' season finale Aug. 4.
The schedule includes some very contentious games during the next 31 days despite the break in the MLL schedule for the World Lacrosse Championships in Netanya, Israel. The festivities begin tomorrow as Denver hosts Boston (3-7) in its annual Fourth of July soiree at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. The Outlaws will then host the Rattlers Sunday, July 22 before hitting the road to both Annapolis and Atlanta to complete the regular season schedule.
Charlotte's task might be the most imposing of all, as the Hounds head to Dallas this Saturday evening before completing their 2018 schedule with two more road games after the break. Charlotte will faceoff with Chesapeake Saturday, July 21 and then travels to Boston a week later.
The Lizards will hit the road to face their long-time adversary, the Bayhawks, in Annapolis this Saturday, July 7. New York will then resume play on Thursday, July 19 at home against Boston and then travels to Dallas to play the Rattlers. The Long Islanders conclude their regular season at home with another tête-à-tête against Chesapeake Aug. 4.
The Blaze, which snapped its five-game losing streak with a 16-10 win over the Hounds in the first-ever professional lacrosse game played in South Carolina this past Saturday, will play three games in the span of seven days after the break. Liam Banks' squad will visit Ohio Saturday, July 21 and then returns home to face the Bayhawks on Thursday the 26th. Just two nights later, Atlanta will be in Boca Raton to face the Launch, for what could be a vital match for one or both of the combatants. The Blaze then will host Denver Saturday, Aug. 4.
Florida will host Ohio (2-8) this Saturday and then will travel to Fortress Obetz for a Thursday affair on July 26. After the quick turnaround match with Atlanta on Saturday, July 26, the Launch will end the regular season in Dallas Saturday, Aug. 4.
The Cannons and Machine are mathematically alive in the chase but would need nearly everything to go in their favor to wrest away the final playoff berth.
MLL's semifinals will be played Saturday, Aug. 11, at the home fields of the top two finishers in the standings, with the two winners waging a war by the shore Saturday, August 18 in Charleston. MUSC Health Stadium, home of the USL's Charleston Battery, will host the MLL Championship Game. Tickets are on sale now. Order yours by clicking
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